The Afternoon Tea Awards

I was lucky enough to attend second annual Afternoon Tea Awards at  London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, thanks to the event’s fabulous sponsors, luxury tea company, Newby Teas.

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As if that wasn’t exciting enough the awards were presented by author and star baker, Martha Collison and hosted by AfternoonTea.co.uk (a brilliant website for afternoon tea recommendations).

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Newby Teas welcomed us with gorgeous tea-filled goody bags and a chance to sample all their blends. There were also bubbles from Lanson and of course, some delicious afternoon tea treats. I think it’s fair to say it was certainly the best awards ceremony I’ve ever been too!

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The awards are set up to recognise the best in afternoon tea and tea service, from some of the UK’s best hotels and restaurants. A team of expert judges anonymously call in for afternoon tea and look at all aspects of the experience for each prestigious venue (how can I get this job?!).

So, where are the best of the best places to enjoy tea and cake?

Afternoon Tea Award Winners 2017

  • Best Traditional Afternoon Tea – Hotel Café Royal
  • Best Contemporary Afternoon Tea – Mirror Room at Rosewood London
  • Best Themed Afternoon Tea – Churchill Afternoon Tea at The Wellesley
  • Best Children’s Afternoon Tea – Millennium Hotel London Mayfair
  • Best Tea Service – Fortnum & Mason

There were also several venues who received a highly commended accolade, including local hotel Lainston House (see the full list here).

Newby Teas

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The team at Newby Teas are no stranger to awards themselves, they actually have over 100 awards, making them the world’s most-awarded international brand in high-end luxury tea. So naturally, I was keen to try their range and I’ve steadily been working my way through the goody bag. I have to say I am loving Newby Teas’ Milk Oolong blend, which is a yellow green in colour with a natural sweetness and creamy aroma of caramel. I’m also enjoying the green tea and earl grey blends.

Thank you to Newby Teas for the invite to the awards and to AfternoonTea.co.uk for putting on such a fabulous event.

***All the fabulous photos in this post were supplied by AfternoonTea.co.uk***

 

Recent finds

I’ve been up in London for both work and play recently and made lots of exciting foodie discoveries, I thought I’d share a few of my favourites here.

The Restaurant Show + The Bar & Pub Show

I was lucky enough to be working at this fantastic event and had a great time visiting different exhibitors and hearing their stories. Here are a few things I found…

Twisted Halo

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Health conscious but enjoy a drink? This is for you! Twisted Halo is a gently sparkling blend of coconut water twisted with ginger and muddled with premium vodka. At 90 calories per 275ml bottle, it’s light, fresh and very drinkable. I hope to see pubs and bars stocking it soon!

Curio Spirits

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Yes more booze – but I loved the Curio Spirits collection of gin and vodka. Made in small batches all the way down in Cornwall they were full of fragrant botanicals and natural ingredients. I liked their Rock Samphire Gin, made with Cornish spring water and quadrupled distilled with 15 fragrant botanicals, including Kombu seaweed.

The Snaffling Pig Co. – Pork Crackling

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If you watch Dragons Den you may remember this company, who had reinvented pork crackling as a high end pub snack. I had to try some and I wasn’t alone in doing so, their stand was very busy with people sampling the tasty flavours. Expect to see these in good pubs soon!

This is just a little snapshot from the show, there were so many other great things to see and try and talks to learn from too.

Stylist Live 

A week or so later I was back in London for a fun day out at Stylist Live. This is a truly amazing event, with so much going on. I could have gone to all the talks and bought so many lovely things! There are foodie stalls, gins, clothes, jewellery, interiors, make up – just everything. It’s fair to say I was a little over excited. So here’s just two fun foodie finds…

Crosstown Doughnuts – Matcha Tea Doughnut

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I have had the pleasure of sampling Crosstown Doughnuts before (they’re amazing!) but I’d never tried their Matcha Tea Doughnut before. With Match Tea being all the rage at the moment I had to give it a try and it didn’t disappoint. These sourdough doughnuts are on another level! Seriously indulgent but seriously worth it.

Rebel Kitchen – Raw Coconut Water

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From indulgence to innocence…this refreshing coconut water has no additives so it naturally turns pink in the bottle. I’d never seen coconut water with this pink glow before but apparently they’re the result of naturally occurring phenols (anti-oxidants to you and me). It tasted different to other coconut water brands and was lovely and refreshing. I’ll be stocking up on it!

xXx

 

An Evening of Noughties Nostalgia

For a change, this post is about an occasion that took place outside of Hampshire (gasp!). I recently attended a super fun, charitable evening in London to celebrate the launch of new book ‘Goodbye Ruby Tuesday’. It’s a great book, perfect summer reading – you can read my review of it here.

The Event: Ruby Tuesday presents Feeling Noughties

The book is set in that period of time affectionately known as ‘the noughties’, a simpler time when we didn’t have smartphones and everyone wasn’t on Facebook. I’m nostalgic for the era already, so I loved that the evening had a bit of a noughties theme to it.

The fantastic compere for the evening, Scottee invited us all to reminisce about 2006 and what we got up to that year. For me personally, that was the year I graduated and got my first ‘proper’ job in PR. It is astounding that this was 10 years ago, it just can’t be!

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Host Scottee talking noughties (credit for this image and all others in the post goes to Joy Veal – thank you!)

There was more noughties-era fun with glittery cupcakes and a special selection of themed raffle prizes including signed Imogen Heap albums and classic teenage beverage Blue WKD! The star prize, not so noughties themed, was tickets to Wicked. Sadly I didn’t win this or the noughties goodies but that’s okay, I don’t really need any help re-living the past!

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There was glitter everywhere, including the cakes!

The evening’s entertainment didn’t disappoint with musical comedy (and lettuce!) from comedian Katie Pritchard, a dazzling burlesque performance from Ruby Deshabille and some amazing hula-hoop action from Amelia Sparkles. There was more but of course, I had to get back to Hampshire, wish I could have stayed until the end.

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The noughties themed raffle goodies

The venue, Drink Shop & Do, was fabulous too with a brilliant cocktail list and some gorgeous glittery drinks! It’s somewhere I’d definitely like to visit again.

All the fun and merriment was in aid of a good cause, supporting Core Arts, a mental health Day Care Service dedicated to the healing power of creativity.

A huge thanks for the invite and congratulations on an amazing event go to Sara of Huhbub, who organised the whole thing. Find out more about Huhbub at Huhbub.com

 

Eating the right food for your job – findings from the ‘pod-uctivity’ report

These days I do take a keen interest in diet and nutrition, so I was interested to receive a new report from Pod, London’s  healthy food-to-go chain of restaurants. The report looked at what to eat and when to eat it. Crucially, it also looked at how different jobs have different demands and matched them with the right foods to support productivity. The report identified four key job sectors: Creatives, Office Angels, High Flyers and Key Workers.

Being in PR, I fall into the Creatives category – here is just some of the nutritional advice the pod report had for me:

  • Breakfast is a must, containing some slow- release carbohydrate to provide energy to fuel the brain and lift the energy when needed. A mix of oats, nuts and seeds is a great start to the working day.
  • High sugar, high fat diets should be avoided as this will cause sluggishness. These types of foods may ‘accidently’ creep in if eating is not planned, especially after a brainstorming session when brain activity and stress levels have been high. Instead have a slow release carbohydrate snack before and a handful of antioxidant rich blueberries after. It might not sound as appetising as a quick fix chocolate bar, but it will work wonders.
  • Carbohydrates should be reduced through the day and eating late at night avoided, include foods high in tryptophan with dinner to calm the brain and aid sleep.
  • Ensure pantothenic acid intake is adequate to help deal with stress; chicken salad with avocado, a sprinkle of seeds and a heaped tablespoon of whole grains is a perfect stress-busting lunch.

I found it really interesting, I’m traditionally a breakfast denier (since my fast days have taught me to hold off as long as possible without eating). But perhaps when I finally start to feel hungry, usually around 11am, I should be choosing something like a healthy porridge.

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Pod’s Peanut Butter Power Porridge

I’m not a Londoner, so don’t have the option to get my nutritional fix on-the-go with pod but I do make regular trips to the capital. So next time I’m there I’ll certainly be taking the report’s recommendation and popping into the nearest pod for something healthy and delicious. The new menu sounds great (you lucky Londoners)…I particularly like the sound of: Salmon and Seaweed Caviar Scrambled Eggs, Peanut Butter Power Porridge, a Vitamim Hit Blitz and the Falafel Shawarma Wraps!

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Pod’s Salmon and Seaweed Scambled Eggs 

Pod’s founders say their menu reflects their customers ‘ambitious, health concious and smart’ and I have to say I agree. Check out the report for yourself here.

Emotions, Emojis and Food Fuse for Digital Blonde Social Media Week Event

You may not know that this week is Social Media Week, so here’s a look at a free foodie event that may interest some of you. It’s certainly going to be keeping me busy…

Digital Blonde Social Media Week London Emoji Event

Emojis, emotions and food…find out more during Social Media Week London

Social Media Week London (14th – 18th September) will see a fantastic free event hosted by Karen Fewell, Founder of Digital Blonde and The Food Marketing School. Taking place on Thursday 17th September, 4pm – 6pm this special panel event will delve deeper into the emotions surrounding eating and emoji use, exploring what this means for food marketing.

According to Digital Blonde research*, emojis might be more important in marketing than first thought. When asked what they thought about brands using emojis, the number one response from UK adults was that the company in question was ‘fun and lively’. And, when it came to the reasons people shared food emojis, the responses ranged from showing off about dinner plans to pride in their own cooking or baking and even flirting.

An exclusive experiment on the Monday of Social Media Week will explore what affect new forms of language like emojis may have on our relationship with food. The experiment also aims to look at the overall role of technology when it comes to eating out and food purchasing decisions, asking whether it is potentially detrimental to the way we experience food. The full research conclusions are to be revealed at Thursday’s panel event. Set to be a unique and lively debate, the occasion promises to both inform and surprise the audience.

Best of all, the event takes place in a traditional Young’s pub, The Lamb Tavern, in London’s Leadenhall market. Designed to put the ‘social’ back in to social media, the panel session will have a fun and intimate atmosphere, with attendees gathered around pub tables rather than formal theatre style seating.

So whether you’re an emoji enthusiast, novice or non-believer, the Digital Blonde debate will certainly give you something to think about. The event hopes to delve deeper into the increasingly intimate relationship between food and technology and explore the topics such as how to humanise food marketing. It’s ideal for everyone from chefs and caterers to foodies, food brands and marketing and digital teams. In short, anyone interested in understanding the relationships between food, human emotion and social media should save the date.

The event is free to attend but you must register to attend by visiting the eventbrite page at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/food-emotions-emojis-tickets-18450214087

Two Tea Treats

FoodTeaLife’s been a little quiet lately, mostly thanks to a holiday diet and denying myself the pleasures cheese and wine far too much. However, there have been a few indulges to brighten the diet days – you’ve got to have things to look forward to after all.

First up was a fabulous afternoon tea in London at The Berkeley, a real girly treat. Named Prêt-à-Portea, it’s something of an unique twist on the traditional afternoon tea, with all the cakes and treats inspired by designer fashion and the latest trends. It was a colourful affair, reflecting the Spring/Summer 14 season’s designer collections with cakes and biscuits in the shape of shoes and bags and colours straight off the catwalk. It was delicious too, from the delicate sandwiches to the chocolate shoes – I ate a lot of fashion themed treats that afternoon!

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Beautiful fashion inspired treats – thanks to Aminah for the image

The staff at The Berkeley were wonderful too, taking the time to explain the fashion inspiration behind every sweet treat and bringing more of anything you wanted! I haven’t even started on the tea yet (which there was unlimited supply of!). I sipped earl grey and later moved on to a delicate fresh mint tea. My companions however enjoyed a caramel tea and a ginger tea – there were plenty more interesting blends too. Even the coffee was fabulous too.

Cutest cappuccino ever? Thanks again to Aminah for this lovely image

Cutest cappuccino ever? Thanks again to Aminah for this lovely image

I must say a huge thanks to Aminah for organising such a wonderfully decadent girly get-together and for the beautiful photos! It certainly was an occasion to remember.

Treat number two was a little more local, a special pre-birthday indulgence with my mum and sister at The Winchester Hotel and Spa. I was treated to a manicure, something I’ve never actually had before. I was delighted with the results – I’m loving my elegantly coloured nails! Let’s see how long I can keep them chip free for.

We followed our beauty treats with a foodie treat, a cream tea! And what a spectacularly generous cream tea it was, we got far more that simply scones and tea…

Tea at the Winchester Hotel & Spa

My wonderful birthday treat at The Winchester Hotel & Spa

There were rhubarb pastries, strawberries, miniature éclairs and more. It was a real feast and we enjoyed it sipping earl grey outside in the sunshine. Perfect weather and the best company – probably the best Sunday ever I’d say! A massive thank you of epic proportions goes to my sister and mum for this special treat.

Feeling very lucky right now (and full of cake).

xXx

Ladies lunch at Jamie Oliver’s Pop Up Diner

My sister and I do enjoy an occasional ladies day out, usually involving the theatre, a little Pimms and some good food – and so our most recent outing to see The Book of Mormon was no exception.

There’s something so exciting about taking the day off work to have some fun – it feels like such a treat! And what better way to celebrate our day of freedom than a little bit of Pimms O’clock whilst journeying to London!

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Cheers!

Once in London we made our way to Jamie Oliver’s new pop-up diner on Shaftesbury Avenue for a spot of lunch.

What a fabulous place! Full of quirky dinosaur decor, including a giant T-Rex, it just looked like fun from the moment we stepped inside!

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The menu was great too, there were hearty salads, burgers, ribs, chicken in a basket and lots more classic dishes, all with an interesting twist. Something that stood out as particularly intriguing was Jamie’s avocado fries…I simply had to try some with my burger.

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The famous avocado fries….

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They were really good, strange at first but very moorish! There was a delicious coating to the fries which seemed to include fennel seeds making them incredibly flavoursome. And so with a squeeze of lime over my avocado fries they were soon demolished. The chicken burger was excellent too and I loved the retro way it all came served on a tray.

We indulged in a little liquid dessert, choosing a cocktail each from the tempting menu…

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I’ve talked about the brilliance of The Book of Mormon in a previous FoodTeaLife post, so I won’t go on about it again, other than to say it’s still very funny the second time round! I’ll end by passing on a huge recommendation for Jamie Oliver’s diner, it’s only there for a limited time so make sure you check it out if you’re in London any time soon.

Thanks to my fabulous sister for the best day out in ages! Xx

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